Arsene Wenger may finally soon find himself out of a job. At least that’s what Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is paying out on after another horrendous week for the beleaguered head of London-based Premier League giant, Arsenal. The #WengerOut movement has been vocal for years now and it appears the 68-year-old Frenchman’s stint at the Gunners’ helm is drawing to a close to the relief of a good number of Arsenal supporters.
Wenger is a living legend credited with revolutionizing English football during his astonishingly long, fruitful tenure at Arsenal. He took the job all the way back in 1996 and has put together an unforgettable career with the side including three league titles, seven FA Cup titles and seven FA Community Shields. In a league that often sees managers thrown under the bus on a seemingly month-to-month basis, Wenger has long been a striking exception and outlier.
No matter his club’s ups and downs, he’s been able to weather the storm and his shadow has loomed large enough to barely blot out sparks of criticism. But as the 2017-18 season winds down with few trophies and accolades in sight for his squad, he’s projected by Paddy Power to be the next Premier League manager on the chopping block.
The season began with some hope that the Gunners might win one more title or cup for the gaffer. With the summer arrivals of talented striker Alexandre Lacazette from Olympique Lyon and defender Sead Kolasinac from Schalke, the roster looked refreshed and retooled. A thrilling victory over Chelsea gave Arsenal a running start as it took home a Community Shield in early August.
With just five losses out of their first 21 competitions, Arsenal was off and running, looking primed to compete for at least a few honors. Then, a string of bad losses and familiar inconsistent play began to spiral the Gunners off target as they were bounced from the FA Cup early by Nottingham Forest and unable to hold down a spot in the top five of the league.
As the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Francis Coquelin and Theo Walcott trickled away, the club began to change shape. The final hammer dropped when, in a three-club cycle of movement, star winger Alexis Sanchez was sold to Manchester United and striker Olivier Giroud was sent to Chelsea while the talented Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan headed to the Emirates.
The additions were solid, but in the short term unable to fully account for the subtractions or remedy the established ills as this past week was a particularly ugly one in the club’s storied history. Identical 3-0 defeats at the hands of seemingly unstoppable Manchester City followed by an embarrassing league loss to 10th place Brighton Hove & Albion may have finally pushed all remaining patience to the limit.
Paddy Power’s favorite landing spot for Wenger is the Chinese Super League due in no small part to that league’s recent aggressive pursuit of big names in world soccer on and off the pitch both in and some might say a little bit past their primes. Another possible scenario could find Wenger winging it across the Atlantic taking over an MLS squad where he might enjoy another long tenure with likely the least amount of job security pressure he’s ever experienced.
While Wenger has a 100/30 shot of ending up in the States, he could simply replace Big Sam Allardyce at Everton (4/1), take the reins of his home country’s biggest club in Paris (10/1) or go international with England (12/1) or France (11/2).
Paddy Power’s predictions of course can be taken with a grain of salt, but the bookmaker has payed out early on huge events across the spectrum of sports, entertainment and even politics in recent years. Despite the boasts of local boy Conor McGregor last August, Paddy was less enthused by the UFC fighters chances against undefeated Floyd Mayweather.
”Patriotism aside, we are paying out early on a Mayweather victory – because we checked, and only one of them is a boxer.”
The bookmaker also less successfully predicted Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. They can hardly be faulted as eventual president-elect Trump ran into his fair share of scandals and surprised a lot of U.S. and non-U.S. citizens alike with his victory. Whether Wenger’s ouster is a sure thing or if he’ll be Arsenal till he dies remains to be seen, but there’s plenty of action to be had with news that could break at any moment.